Lynn Hughes

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Lynn Nettleton Hughes
Lynn Nettleton Hughes.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
Assumed office
December 17, 1985
Appointed by Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Robert O'Conor, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1941-09-09) September 9, 1941 (age 75)
Houston, Texas
Alma mater University of Alabama
University of Texas Law School
Profession Judge

Lynn Nettleton Hughes (born September 9, 1941) is a United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Education and early career[edit]

Born in Houston, Texas, Hughes received a B.A. from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa in 1963 and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1966. He was in private practice in Houston, Texas from 1966 to 1979. He was a President, Southwest Resources, Houston, Texas from 1969 to 1970. He was a judge on the 165th Judicial District, State of Texas from 1979 to 1980. He was a judge on the 189th Judicial District, State of Texas from 1981 to 1985. Adjunct professor, South Texas College of Law, 1973–present. He was an Adjunct professor, University of Texas School of Law from 1990 to 1991. He received an LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1992.

District Court service[edit]

Hughes is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Hughes was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on October 16, 1985, to a seat vacated by Robert O'Conor, Jr.. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 16, 1985, and received his commission on December 17, 1985.

Since approximately 2008, Hughes has been a lecturer focusing on ethical issues for the 35,000-member American Association of Petroleum Geologists.[1]

British Petroleum controversy[edit]

According to a Thursday, July 29, 2010 AOL online article, Judge Hughes was asked by BP to oversee the massive number of lawsuits filed against it. While he does not own any shares of BP and has not been formally asked to recuse himself, the fact that he has connections (like many federal judges that are his colleagues in his district) to the oil and gas sector as a whole has led some media outlets, including CNN, to suggest that such a choice could be somewhat questionable.

Sex discrimination ruling[edit]

In the case of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Houston Funding II, Ltd. et al., Case Number H-11-2442 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 2, 2012), Donnicia Venters, a mother represented by the EEOC, claimed that she was fired from Houston Funding due to her request to be allowed to pump breastmilk upon her return to work after giving birth. Houston Funding claimed that it had fired Venters for abandoning her job for over two months after giving birth.

Venters sued Houston Funding, alleging that the company had discriminated against her based on her sex.[2] Citing several previous District Court opinions which had already ruled on the issue, Judge Hughes explained that breastfeeding is not covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.[3]

In the ruling, Hughes writes, “Even if the company's claim that she was fired for abandonment is meant to hide the real reason - she wanted to pump breast milk - lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. She gave birth on Dec. 11, 2009. After that day, she was no longer pregnant and her pregnancy-related conditions ended. Firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not sex discrimination”.[3][4] Hughes was overruled by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which held that Venters had established a prima facie case of sex discrimination under Title VII.[5]


  1. ^ "Lowell Sun June 6, 2010 Many Gulf federal judges have oil links". Lowell Sun. Retrieved 6 June 2010. [dead link]
  2. ^ Plushnick-Masti, Ramit (February 9, 2012). "Judge: Firing for lactation not sex discrimination". The Seattle Times. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "EEOC v Houston Funding II, LTD, Case No. H-11-2442 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 2, 2011)". Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  4. ^ Winter, Jessica (March 7, 2012). "Subject for Debate: Are Women People?". Time. 
  5. ^


Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert J. O'Conor, Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas